Tell us about your classroom guitar experience.
I have been teaching guitar for 21 years at the same school. I even did my internship at this same school! My day consists of 3 Guitar I classes, 2 Guitar II, and 1 Guitar III/IV. All told that equals 186 students.
What’s your favorite thing about teaching classroom guitar?
I love teaching guitar on so many different levels…to Guitar I students everything is new and fascinating (playing songs they recognize, picking up an electric guitar or bass for the first time, playing F#m barre chords they couldn’t play before, etc). I enjoy watching Guitar II students realize what “good” guitar playing is, AND how much effort it is going to take to become “good” at guitar. Guitar III/IV students are my pride and joy because we BOTH see how far they have come in such a relatively short period of time. And then, (as every teacher knows) there are just simply the funniest things kids do…and say…that make each day perfectly unpredictable.
That’s a packed schedule; is it tough? How do you deal?
I love teaching so much that my least favorite part is the frustration that comes from not being able to accomplish everything on my to-do list every day. There are just so many things I want to do, but fitting it all in is difficult.
What are your favorite lessons at Teaching Guitar Workshops?
I love teaching barre chords in level 1 and improvisation/Jazz chords to the level II classes because the participants are so afraid of these topics…but, they are smiling at the end of the week!
Why should a music educator start a classroom guitar program?
In teaching guitar classes, you create a very high percentage of lifelong musicians. When I walk through the grocery store I inevitably run into former students and many of the are eager to report that they are “still strummin’ on the weekends”, or my personal favorite…”I put my guitar down for 5 years and then realized it is VITAL to my overall happiness. I am so happy now that I’m playing again.” What more reason to teach music in the schools?!
Why do you think teachers should attend the Teaching Guitar Workshops?
The workshops are like a 1-week shot of grad school in that you are obviously learning new content, but also gleaning intangibles such as pacing, communication strategies, and just pulling out the little details that YOU LIKE from the way the instructors walk, talk, smile, teach, coach, cajole, explain, encourage, etc.
What will every TGW Attendee walk away with?
I think the one thing you will walk away with as an attendee of a TGW is the confidence to jump in and do guitar at your school. Then, you will want to come back in a year or two and ask a whole different set of questions!